‘It’s Christmas time, and there’s no need to be afraid’, unless of course you’re a pet!
I urge you all to please consider how your festive celebrations may affect your pets, so we can all enjoy a safe and happy Christmas and New Year together.
Will your Christmas be spent at home or away? Leaving your pets at home will require the help of a responsible (and sober!) friend or neighbour to visit, feed and care for them.
Don’t forget that seasonal plants such as holly, poinsettia, ivy and mistletoe are all extremely toxic so please think very carefully when you’re busy decking your halls.
If you are staying local and having a party then spare a thought for nervous pets when pulling crackers or popping party poppers; perhaps shut them securely in a quieter room and checking on them regularly.
Christmas can be such a traumatic time for pets, with lots of noise and unfamiliar guests arriving, so please make them a priority otherwise they may get scared, try to escape and perhaps never return.
Brightly-coloured baubles and tantalizing tinsel are new and exciting objects for pets, who’ll most likely try to eat them causing all sorts of internal kerfuffles.
Securely attach any fragile glass decorations, making sure they’re kept out of reach at the top of your tree to avoid pets pulling them off, breaking them, or stepping on any sharp fragments.
Foodwise, there are hazards galore at this time of year. Regular readers will be well-aware that chocolate is extremely poisonous to dogs and cats (rule: the darker the more deadly), and any suspect ingestion should be reported to your vet immediately.
Symptoms of chocolate poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea and increased urination, progressing to seizures and sometimes death.
Turkey bones can cause choking, constipation, as well as seriously damaging internal organs.
Make sure fairy lights and electric wires are ‘chew-proof’ from inquisitive puppies, kittens and even rabbits.
Another common danger at this time of year is anti-freeze; extremely palatable to cats, it will cause irreversible kidney failure if your cat even just licks his paws after walking through a puddle of the stuff, so be warned and check all outside areas and garages today.
Never ever give pets as presents, but if you are seriously thinking about getting your own furry friend, then please visit your local rescue centre in January, where sadly there’ll be plenty of confused new in-mates to choose from.